Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tangrams and taxes

Today seems to be Numbers Day.

Now that I've assembled all the federal tax info for HP and for me, two separate productions, not being a married pair, I decided to do a rough draft of the taxes, knowing we both have something coming back, and managed to get both done, whipping back and forward between last year's copies and this year's forms and the massive volume of instructions and ending up finding yes, indeed, we will get some $$ back.

In earlier years, HP used to make a huge production out of Doing His Taxes, involving days of calculations and sharpened pencils and lined yellow pads, and muttering and trying out this way and that to see what would work best, and generally driving me bananas over what is a comparatively simple matter. Particularly in view of the small numbers of $ involved.

Then last year at this time, HP was in the rehab, and HS and I made an executive decision to do his taxes, HS would recheck, just in case, since I was in crisis and gosh I might make mistakes, can't think why, and we did get it done, and presented to HP, took him through it and got his signature. Total time elapsed: less than two hours.

Today my own took about half an hour, his took about the same. This beats the heck out of paying a preparer to make the same mistakes I would make anyway. In fact I don't mind taxes at all, even in the years when mine have been very complex, with depreciation and interest and dividends and 1099s and all that.

Not that I've ever had any money to speak of, in fact what I've earned barely rates a whisper, despite how hard I worked and, immodestly, how much good I really did do. The complications don't decrease with the actual dollar value, sigh.

Doing important work for people in need and for animals and making art and creating art workshops for adults and for homeless children, and a lot of other stuff I've done isn't rewarded with a lot of $, but the psychic rewards are great. Except it's hard to present psychic money at the supermarket.

Anyway, I did this on me tod (UK slang, Tod Sloan, on my own, you know, rhyming stuff) for years and a tax accountant friend said he was worried that I was doing this and maybe missing out on valuable advantages and could have have a free of charge look over it, and let me know if he thought he should help, or refer me.

So I thought what the heck, okay, here, take a look. He came back after a couple of days and said, well, you certainly seem to know what you're doing. I couldn't find anything I would have changed. So that was nice,and I was very nice to him considering I could have jeered and said, ah ye of little faith, and mean stuff like that. But taxes, if you don't panic, and have all the stuff organized are not that awful. It's the organization of the paper and numbers ahead of time that kills you.

On a sadder note, I also celebrated Numbers Day by filling in the first of what will be a few Financial Disclosure forms for a local nursing home that may become HP's home, at least to get him on the waiting list. He's on board with this, knows it's inevitable probably, and is only concerned that I keep my hands on it all to make sure it goes well. Which is both a vote of confidence and a huge burden, when you think of it!

But numbers and shapes have happy sides, too, and I discovered Tangrams this week, too. I'd heard of them, but didn't know much about them. They're a set of shapes that fit together to make a double square, but then the parts can be rearranged, using all the seven pieces, to make all kinds of funky images, great fun, endlessly silly.

Originally a Chinese furniture designer made use of the concept to build tables that could be arranged according to need, and I found nice pix of this in modern form.

And you can prove Pythagoras' famous theorem using tangram pieces.

And, best of all I plan to make a set of my own using cardstock or something, just to play with, and best of allest, I realized that that lovely handmade box with the footcare stuff I showed you a while back is a perfect square, so will be a good home for my homemade tangram when I get it cut out.

So that's us! now for tea and snoozing while the blizzard roars on out there, all the places that were plowed this morning are all filled in again. But this snow is so good for the garden. At least that's what I keep saying.


  1. Congrats on tackling taxes. Still have to do mine..actually I pay to have the work done to reduce the stress as I go into brain freeze when I try on my own. Interesting info on tangrams. Done similar in quilt piecing but didn't know it was a math theory. I hear you got all our Olympic snow...just blame it on Canada!

  2. I designed a little spreadsheet a gzillion years ago and checked it before I did the payroll. Tweaked my taxes so at the end of the year it came out eggzackly even.

    But tangrams are definitely more fun!


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